Statute of Limitations on Blaming the Bully?

There is something I want to get off my chest for some time now – and I don’t think anyone’s actually posted about this – it’s the reactive responses of the bullied person. Over the last few years, there has been a rise in awareness on bullying at school across Australia. It is on the news at least on a weekly basis, if not more.

What has really set me off is the way they make out how “victimised” the bullied person is. Not too long ago, they were advertising “Say No To Bullying Day” on 97.3fm – I listen to the radio on the way to and from work, and every time I hop in the car, I have to listen to the same advert over and over – with one lady claiming:

“I was constantly bullied at school. I have grown up being afraid to go anywhere or do anything. I am so scared I don’t even have a driver’s licence. I am also unemployed because of it.”

Firstly, I want to make it clear that I do not like bullying, nor do I condone it. I am well aware of the fact that bullying and victimisation can have detrimental effects on people – especially school aged children. It causes a whole host of problems, including self-esteem issues, inadequacy, lower grades, etc – the list goes on.

What I don’t understand can’t wrap my head around, is the progression of these problems to adulthood. It is okay to cry out for help and raise awareness for children whom are defenceless against bullies. However, by adulthood, you should have the means and knowledge to stand up for yourself and protect yourself. That’s right – YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO DEFEND YOURSELF PEOPLE. The Anti-discrimination Act is always there to protect you lawfully from victimisation as well, if you need it.

We are who we choose to be – if you choose to constantly feel inadequate and have zero self esteem and respect for yourself, then you have no one else to blame but yourself. There should be a statute of limitations on blaming the bully – You cannot keep using them as a shield. This means you cannot keep blaming the one who said you were overweight 10 years ago. We all have choices – you can choose to listen to them or ignore them (I would recommend doing the latter, as they are not even worth your time. 10 years from now, you probably won’t even recognise each other on the street). But if you do listen to them and feel inadequate about it, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT – workout, exercise, eat healthier. It won’t only shut them up, but it will also make you healthier, fitter, happier.

Don’t complain on radio that you were bullied so extensively you have a social phobia, panic disorder or GAD. I am sorry, but I do not have sympathy for those who do not help themselves. I fail to understand how you can be bullied to the point of “afraid to go outside,” “can’t get a driver’s licence,” or “can’t get a job”. As I mentioned, by adulthood, you should have the means to defend yourself. There are laws that protect you from workplace bullying so don’t use that as an excuse for being unemployed. People will not bully you in public either – they don’t even know you. Has anyone ever had strangers constantly walk up to them on the street bullying them? No. Everyone goes their own way – bullying shouldn’t be used as an excuse to not step foot outside your door (say it with me, sunlight!). I don’t even know what not getting a driver’s licence is all about – it has nothing to do with bullying.

Before anyone says, “You have to be in their shoes to understand their predicament.” Let me tell you, yes, I was a victimised and bullied at school. I first came to Australia when I was 3 and spoke no English. Children can be mean and cruel – racism wasn’t uncommon back then either. Being Asian and not knowing English, I was mercilessly teased on a daily basis by one particular girl in my grade (once one starts, the others tend to join in too. I don’t even remember her name, except she had no front teeth and long brown hair). What did I eventually do? I ignored her and avoided her. Our family eventually moved up to Queensland due to my dad’s work, and again, not a lot of Asians up in North Queensland, and especially not in small towns. It happened all over again. What did I do this time? I stood up for myself. And you can too.

Bullying can happen in numerous ways – verbally, socially and physically. Most children don’t know right from wrong – they usually only bully when they’re surrounded by peers – it makes them feel superior, popular, increases their self-esteem. I believe that every person has been bullied at least once in their life – and that every person has bullied someone else as well – especially verbal bullying. Verbal bullying includes:

  • Teasing
  • Name-calling
  • Inappropriate sexual comments
  • Taunting
  • Threatening to cause harm

I am pretty certain we have all, at some stage, said any of the above to another person – maybe not the “threatening to cause harm”, but you get the general idea. My point is, children are children – they should experience life – mothers should stop “babying” their child – it doesn’t do them any good. If it gets to the point where drastic changes in attitude is noticed, then yes, measures need to be done. And as I mentioned numerous times, by adulthood, we are thinking beings, fully capable of making our own rational choices and decisions. We have a choice – it is not a secret. What you do with that choice is up to you.

People, these problems can easily be solved. We should spend more of our time raising awareness of poverty, disease and famine in third world countries, not these first world problems.

Sources:

The verbal bullying information above was from here

You can find the Anti-Discrimination Act for QLD here (need to run a search though)

Photos: http://www.microsoft.com

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2 responses to “Statute of Limitations on Blaming the Bully?

  • Gavin

    You find it hard to understand in theirs shoes, but admit a drastic change in attitude requires something should be done. This quite easily shows the very limited understanding of the levels of seriousness associated with bullying, worse so for people with mental illness on top later on in life. I find some bully victims in adulthood come across a lot more like child like in their thinking, same with some mental disorders. There should be a balanced approach – both need to take responsibility to a degree, bully and bullied, but never should their be a shift of blame in an un-just situation. I suggest talking to a psychologist and neurologist to fully understand the lasting effects neural linguistic programming can have on someone’s central nervous system, physically, and therefore un-wittingly influence future behavior and decisions, and for some, how drastic but in a lot of cases “silent” these emotional responses can be. These people need educated and for some professional help to understand why they think or feel the way they do in future reactions. However, it’s easier to shift focus and blame the unemployed for being unemployed. Everyone’s different psychologically, but get treated in a one size fits all mentality by most, and cracks open up to fall in for them. Those cracks can screw their lives or make the problem worse. Those cracks are what I think anti-bully groups are talking about.

  • J Keim

    To the author of this, I just want to help you understand what you are missing here. You say you cannot understand why someone “lets” past events shape the way they act in adult hood.
    Someone who was constantly bullied as a child and teenager probably did not ever learn self-coping mechanisms. They never learned self-esteem, for they never had any- all their peers took it from them. Many victims of bullying develop PTSD and have flashbacks. Some are psychologically damaged, others are physically damaged due to excessive blows to the knees, head, etc.
    Little to nothing was done to address the problem of bullying in the past, and it is only being addressed today because these victims are finally speaking out and doing what you suggest- standing up for themselves. In some cases, this involves suing. It is a difficult case but it can be won and when it is, the payout is often incredible. Schools do not wish to be sued therefore they are finally doing about the topic of bullying. That’s why you are hearing more about it now.
    I’m sorry to learn you were a victim of bullying. Keep in mind, some people did and still do have it worse than you. Not everyone was in a position where they could stand up for themselves. When its one person against a group of 10 who are more powerful and have weapons, the bully is only going to become more physically abused than before. When a victim does report it and nothing is really done about it, he or she learns it is probably a hopeless cause and they will just have to put up with it until they graduate or drop out, hoping for a better adult hood. Not everyone is so fortunate. Not every victim is favored. Some victims rat out their bullies just to get bullied worse. Some victims report their bullying just to learn they will only be yelled at, accused of lying, and punished. No teacher or authority figure ever wants to believe that their future football star student is committing a crime, so they just leave it be.
    I seriously doubt you were kicked to the point you could barely walk. I seriously doubt you were threatened by bullies who backed up their threats and acted on them. I doubt you were sexually harassed in front of tens and hundreds of other students. I could go on with all the things I doubt that happened to you because you do not exhibit symptoms of anyone who was bullied to critical level. This is why you do not understand what these other victims are going through.
    Again, Im sorry for what you had to go through. Im glad to hear that you found a way around it and were able to turn things around. Just remember, if you cannot wrap your head around why someone is acting the way they are, it does not automatically mean they are “doing it to themselves”.
    Hope Ive helped.

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